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Links of the week: public works, research strategies, CDDs, what’s next in microfinance, and more…

David McKenzie's picture

·         Is evidence-based policy too devoid of politics? – Oxfam’s blog discussion and superb rejoinder from DFID’s Chris Witty and Stefan Dercon on the case for evidence-based work.

·         JPAL has a new paper out on how to compare cost-effectiveness across interventions, with applications to education policy. This is going on my “to read” pile and I may blog about it in due course, but the pile is a bit large at the moment so thought I’d link to it now (h/t (@JPAL_Global)

·         An interesting interview with Richard Thaler on the InDecision blog – “More generally, I think psychologists are just publishing too many small papers. Look at the number of papers Kahneman and Tversky wrote that created and defined the field we now call judgment and decision making. The judgment stuff was really 3 papers plus the Science recapitulation. Then came prospect theory. Four blockbusters that led to a Nobel Prize. Not enough for tenure these days!”

·         On the Let’s Talk Development blog, Andrew Beath and co-authors provide early results from a randomized experiment on a CDD program in Afghanistan finding some evidence of greater acceptance of female participation in public affairs.

·         I have a guest post on the Financial Access Initiative blog this week, which has a series on “what’s next in microfinance” – my post is on “risk isn’t just for farmers, but isn’t all bad

·         The newest “From Evidence to Policy” note looks at the impact of Latvia’s public works programs in response to the global crisis.

·         Abhijit Banerjee on “how to find the poor” in the Wall Street Journal India – discussion of self-targeting vs proxy means tests vs community assessments based on experiments in Indonesia.

·         Nature has a piece on putting international aid programs under the microscope – talks a little about the MCC evaluations that Markus blogged about (via @BerkOzler12)

Follow me on twitter (@dmckenzie001) for more.